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A Hero of Liége by Herbert Strang

But being well acquainted with the stationmaster


"All

right. He sneered about my doing wonders for my country. I'll do something better than spying. I'll volunteer for the Flying Corps."

"Oh, don't do that! It's so dangerous."

"No more dangerous than being in the firing line."

"But why do anything at all--of that sort, I mean? War is horrible--horrible!"

"It is, for everyone. I'm sure none of our people wanted it. But if we're in for it, every fellow who can do anything will be required, and you wouldn't wish me to skulk at home while others fight?"

"I'd rather you should fight than spy. You must make haste. Martial law is proclaimed. Father called at the station, and found that there will be a train at half-past nine to-night: it will probably be the last. And the stationmaster said that anyone who wanted to secure a seat must be early, for there's sure to be a great rush. Have you done your packing?"

"Yes; there's only one bag I need take. The less baggage the better. I'll run down to the station and get my ticket now, to make sure of it."

"Don't be long. Father will be back to dinner, and he wants to say goodbye to you, and to give you some messages for business friends in London."

Kenneth hurried to the station. There were signs of new

excitement in the streets. Newsvendors were shouting that Belgium was invaded. People thronged the beer-shops, eagerly discussing the situation. Already there were cries of "Down with the English!" Tourists of all nationalities were flocking to the station and to the landing-stage for the Rhine steamers. Soldiers were everywhere.

At the station ticket office there was a long queue of people waiting. Kenneth saw little chance of obtaining a ticket for some time; but being well acquainted with the stationmaster, he sought his assistance and was provided with a written pass.

"I can't guarantee that you will get beyond Aix-la-Chapelle," said the official. "You must take your chance."

Kenneth set off to return. Attracted by a crowd at the door of one of the hotels, he went up to discover the cause of the assemblage. A mountain of luggage was piled on the pavement, and the distracted owners, turned out of the hotel, were vainly seeking porters to convey it to the station. The riff-raff of the streets were jeering at them. Kenneth turned away, feeling that the scene was ominous.

He had walked only a short distance from the spot when a hand touched his shoulder from behind.

"You are under arrest, sir," said a police sergeant, who was accompanied by two constables.

"Nonsense," said Kenneth, good-humouredly. "You have mistaken your man."

"Your name is Kenneth Amory?" said the sergeant.

"Something like that," said Kenneth, amused at the man's pronunciation.

"There is no mistake, then. You are arrested."

"Indeed! On what charge?"


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